Presented by RM Sotheby’s – Ever since it was first unveiled and production began in 1958, the DB4 has played a key role in the evolution of contemporary grand tourer design and engineering by Aston Martin. Over time, cars from the famous English marque have earned a reputation for their elegant styling with incredible performance to match. The DB4 only added to this, with its platform acting as a base for the DB4 GT Zagato and Lagonda Rapide that followed, while also paving the famous successors that evolved the model, such as the DB5.
The DB4 instantly drew attention as it was revealed at the Paris Motor Show, with its sharp styling twinned with an advanced 3.7-liter straight-six engine designed by Tadek Marek, whose name became synonymous with Aston Martin’s standards for engineering and performance excellence. The powertrain continued in various guises throughout other Aston Martin models until 1972. Equally important to the performance credentials of the DB4 was its Superleggera (“superlight”) body design from Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, Italy, which provided both a lightweight and strong framework of small-diameter tubes dressed clad in aluminum panels. Furthermore, four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes were introduced, allowing the DB4 to claim the record for the first production car capable of reaching 100 mph and returning to a standstill in under 30 seconds.
This example offered here, chassis number DB4/152/R, has enjoyed single-family ownership since 1963. As one of approximately 150 early Series I models, this DB4 is characterized by its frameless door windows and the car retains many of its original features—known to feature a matching-numbers engine, and it is understood that the car has never been completely restored. Originally specified in Tudor Grey over a grey interior, the Aston Martin was first registered for the road on 3 October 1959, wearing the license plate “351 CXM”, which it keeps to this day. Records show that the car was used regularly when new, with an invoice from Aston Service Dorset revealing that the car had covered almost 10,000 miles in its first year, within which the DB4 returned to the dealership routinely for “bedding in” and early servicing.
In October 1963, the car was acquired by Mr. Robin Boneham, who traded a 1957 MG MGA Fixed Head Coupe and paid a further £1,375 to Lazenby Garages of Rothley, Leicestershire to secure the DB4. Incredibly, the car has been in the ownership of the Boneham family since. The car is presented for sale at auction with history files that date back to Mr. Boneham’s purchase of the car, including correspondence with the dealership and the ensuing receipt. From this point onwards, it is clear that Mr. Boneham took great care of the DB4, with workshop invoices detailing routine servicing, occasional cosmetic work—including light paint retouching in 1972—even keeping receipts for MoTs, new batteries and tires. To add to its authenticity, the DB4 comes complete with the original tool kit and roll, along with the owner’s Instruction Book that looks to be kept in its original packaging. The paperwork included with the car provides a verifiable trace of its mileage throughout the years, and at the time of cataloging, its odometer reads 69,981 miles.
To this day, the car is presented with its wire knock-off wheels, wood-rim steering wheel, period-correct Motorola radio and other contemporary features that only add to its 1950s charm. With only two owners from new, including single-family ownership since 1963, the opportunity to acquire this already rare DB4 Series I—made even more sought after with its known history of being cared for by an attentive owner—cannot be missed for any Aston Martin enthusiast or collector.
This vehicle will be offered at RM Sotheby’s 15th annual London auction on 6 November, taking place at Waterloo Place and online at rmsothebys.com. Contact a Car Specialist for more information or to register to bid.